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.Dark days of FG’s oppression over, says Sanwo-Olu
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated the Lagos Blue Rail Line from Mile 2 axis of Lagos Mainland to Marina on Lagos Island.
The President also unveiled the Centre for Yoruba Culture at the Onikan in Lagos.
The rail system is expected to transport 250,000 passengers daily.
Speaking at the inauguration of the rail system, Sanwo-Olu sisclosed that the contract for the final phase of the project would be signed at the event.
The Governor said, “In that historic spirit of today, we will also be signing the contract for the construction of the second Phase of the Blue Line.”
The Governor stated that “since 1999, Lagos State has not enjoyed the kind of support that we have enjoyed since your assumption of office.
“The various projects that you have commissioned indeed bear testimony of the support and facilitation of the Federal Government under your watch; from the Imota Rice Mill, inspired by your successful agricultural revolution, to the Lekki Deep Sea Port, and this Blue Line Rail Project.’
Sanwo-Olu paid tribute to “the Architect of Modern Lagos, who is also the Presidential Candidate of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and by the special grace of God, a most worthy successor to you, Mr. President – our Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom.
“This Blue Line we are commissioning today is the product of his timeless vision for Lagos State, a vision that dates back almost 25 years, when he took over the reins of leadership in Lagos State.
“One of his greatest legacies was developing a comprehensive Road Map for the future of Lagos State; one that laid out very clearly the pathway to a modern, prosperous, and globally competitive Megacity
“The Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) envisioned 6 Metro Lines, of which the 27km Blue Line, running from Marina to Okokomaiko, is first.
“Over the years the journey has been eventful, and many challenges have been surmounted, including a lack of support and cooperation from the People’s Democratic Party, when they were in power. It is not a secret that the only ambition of that party was to capture Lagos, not to support progress and development.
“They made this clear in very many ways, including the unconstitutional withholding of critical funds, and brazen attempts to manipulate elections. To his eternal credit, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stood his ground, and never backed down, setting out an excellent example for all of us his successors, on the importance of believing in a vision and holding firmly to it at all times.
“The completion of this historic Blue Line, the first rail system in Africa with a sea-crossing, is testament to the fact that indeed the dark days of Federal oppression and intimidation are behind us.”
Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat has disclosed that the completion of the infrastructure of the first phase of the project which has five stations – Mile 2, Suru-Alaba, Orile Iganmu, National Theatre and Marina is expected to move about 250,000 passengers daily when it begins commercial operations.
“Today, Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, history is being made as we gather to commission the most audacious project to be funded by a sub national in Africa.
“The Lagos Blue Line Rail Project is a 27-kilometre rail system from Marina to Okokomaiko. Its construction was divided into phases for ease of implementation. It is expected to move more than 500,000 passengers when the entire line is eventually completed. In fact, the signing of the agreement for the second phase takes place today.
“Our transportation strategy is multimodal, bringing together the various elements of road, rail and water in a seamless manner that makes commuting an interesting experience.
“Coincidentally, Marina, where we are making history today, is central to our integrated multimodal transport system, being a melting pot for all the transportation modes.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that since its completion the landmark Blue Rail Line has elicited much jubilation among residents, who are excited to be part of history.
“The excitement, no doubt, is justifiable, considering the fact that this project will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear State on the same pedestal as others of its stature.
“The people come first in all that we do. They are the bedrock of our government. This project is, therefore, all about them. And that is what governance is all about.
“Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, please, permit me, at this juncture, to express our profound gratitude to all those who have played key roles in the evolvement and realization of this people-oriented project.”
Hamzat recalled that it was Tinubu administration that developed the Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), which laid out the foundation for a network of robust and modern transport infrastructure befitting a 21st century City-State, such as ours.
“The master plan has six rail lines and one monorail, 14 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, over 20 water routes and a number of major roads.
“Central to the implementation of the transport master plan is the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which was established in 2002 by Asiwaju Tinubu to develop an effective intermodal transport system for Lagosians.
“The farsighted leader that he is, Asiwaju ensured he bequeathed to the State a worthy and inventive successor, in the person of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), who gave the project the significant push it needed. The first bricks and mortar that hold the project together were put in place by the Fashola administration.
“Interestingly, Governor Sanwo-Olu and I were part of the Tinubu and Fashola teams. That is the beauty of the ingenious Lagos school of governance. It not only breeds ideas, it builds people for the good of the society.
“It is to the credit of these worthy leaders, our Chinese partners and many others who worked with them behind the scene that we are making history today.”
Earlier, the President had unveiled the newly built John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture.
At the event in which the President did not make any speeches, the Lagos state Commissioner for tourism Uzamat Akinbile Yussuf said the museum that will stimulate the local economy of the state by bringing tourists from within and outside the country.
She said “I welcome Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari, my boss, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and other distinguished personalities to this epoch-making event, which is the official commissioning of the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History.
“I must also stress that apart from this Centre being a Museum it is a multi-faceted and an all-encompassing tourism asset that portrays the indigenous culture of not only Lagosians but the entire Yoruba race It is indeed a Centre that creates avenue for younger generations to have first in depth knowledge about our culture that is nearly going into extinction, so it is a knowledge sharing Centre.”
Uzamat praised Governor Sanwo-Olu for his commitment into making this project a reality.
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